Bushbuckridge councillor in court on fraud and theft charges
A Bushbuckridge councillor and his alleged accomplices have been arrested for fraud and theft.
Hawks spokesperson captain Dineo Sekgotodi said in a statement on Monday that Mphikelele Malomane, 43, Bongani Sibuyi, 27, and Palesa Maja, 23, appeared in the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges of fraud and theft.
In August 2017 the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality and Leadership 2020 invited youth for leadership and skills training. Participants submitted their CVs and paid a R250 admin fee.
“About 351 learners deposited the money which amounted to over R80,000. Ultimate Training Programme (UTC) service provider, which was not accredited by SETA at the time, was allegedly appointed to run the said project with Sibuyi being the Project Leader,” Sekgotodi said.
“Successful candidates signed the learnership agreement forms and contract which stipulated that they were to receive monthly stipends of R3,000 for a period of five months. Classes commenced around September 2017, after two months the learners and facilitators complained that they were not receiving their monthly allowances as promised.”
The suspects disappeared after the third month.
“[The] Hawks’ investigation revealed that the owner of UTC was deceitfully told that the project was cancelled by the municipality before it even started as their services were no longer going to be required,” Sekgotodi said.
“It was further revealed that the bank account number used to deposit the administration fees by learners in fact belonged to Umphile Thuto Consultant (UTC), an entity registered under Maja with links to Sibuyi.”
Malomane, Sibuyi and Maja were granted R3,000 bail each. The case was postponed to June 6 for further investigation.